Say What?

July 1999


Say What?

VW ads are too obscure

If not done carefully, high-concept ads can get just plain high. Volkswagen, whose catchy, groovy TV ads are the talk of the U.S. right now, launched a British print campaign for the VW Polo Automatic that takes the cake for weirdness. Over 18 months, VW's London-based ad agency took pictures of discarded left shoes – along roadsides, underwater, in the trash – and printed them on posters with the date and location of each shot in the lower left corner. Wear them? Drive them? What's the connection?

What the automaker is probably trying to say with artistic humor is drivers of the automatic car no longer need their left shoes to work the clutch. For the audience to reach this conclusion, though, they must first note that all the shoes (which are mostly obscured or shot from far away) are lefties, then add this up with the significant feature of the advertised product. This is a lot to ask from people breezing by the poster on their way up from the Underground.

– by Stacey King


Drivers of the automatic VW don't need these shoes anymore, the ads seem to say. But do audiences get it?

Copyright © 1999 by Bond Communications.


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